Site Updated Through 4/27!

Hi all, this is Ben, from the OT-AAUP Communications Committee. Our group fell a bit behind on keeping the site updated early on in the COVID-19 outbreak, but rest assured that our negotiation team and OT-AAUP group did not stop working toward our first CBA in that time.

I’ve recently updated the site with bargaining session summaries from the sessions held on 3/13, 4/6, 4/13, 4/20 and 4/27. You can find those on the bargaining updates page.

I’ve also updated all the articles proposed during those sessions on our spreadsheet, which is here.

If you’re able to attend any of our upcoming negotiation sessions on 5/11, 5/18, 6/1, and 6/8, it would be much appreciated, and there’s information on those sessions (including Zoom links) on our calendar page.

Lastly, we have a new logo! It’s been added to the homepage on our site, and I’m sure you’ll be seeing it around elsewhere virtually (and later on) on our campuses:

As always, use the contact form to let us know of your questions or concerns.

Keep safe and healthy out there!

April 27th, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

 For this session, OT-AAUP proposed four articles: Notices of Appointment, Management Rights, Progressive Discipline, and Association Dues.

The Oregon Tech team proposed three articles: Notices and Communication, Recognition, and Academic Freedom.

Notices and Communication was discussed first. The Oregon Tech team summarized some minor changes, and the OT-AAUP team decided to discuss those changes in caucus.

Recognition was discussed next. The Oregon Tech team summarized their changes, and the OT-AAUP team asked that instructor rank be added to the first paragraph of the article, to include librarians who teach but who aren’t tenure track. The Oregon Tech team agreed to discuss this in caucus.

Notices and Appointment was briefly discussed next. The OT-AAUP summarized the article, pointing out that it spells out policy that is already in place at the university. The Oregon Tech team agreed to discuss in caucus.

Management Rights was discussed next. This began a lengthy discussion. The Oregon Tech team asked if the suggested changes indicated that OT-AAUP was waiving its right to bargain over material described in Section 2; the OT-AAUP said no. The Oregon Tech team asked that the wording be made more specific to better indicate what OT-AAUP wants to retain the right to bargain and what it doesn’t. There was also discussion over the difference between “faculty” as a group and “bargaining members” as a group, and how that difference bears on the article’s claim that Faculty Senate, but not OT-AAUP have the right to participate in defining the university’s mission. The OT-AAUP agreed to discuss further in caucus.

After this, there was a brief discussion about scheduling future meetings. It was agreed that the next bargaining meetings would occur on 5/11, 5/18, 6/1, and 6/8. Each day’s session will run from 10am until 2pm.

The next discussion was of the Progressive Discipline article. The OT-AAUP team summarized the changes to the article. The Oregon Tech team explained that “suspension for the length of an investigation” is not possible, and that a time frame must be specified. Oregon Tech decided to discuss further in caucus.

The Association Dues article was discussed next. OT-AAUP summarized the article. The Oregon Tech team expressed concern about the process described, wherein a member provides notice of cancellation of membership in the union to OT-AAUP, which then notifies Oregon Tech. The Oregon Tech team suggested that a yearly window be established during which any member wanting to cancel membership in the union must express their intent. The Oregon Tech team agreed to discuss further in caucus.

Next there was a brief discussion of the Academic Freedom article. The Oregon Tech team summarized a new version of the article that ignored the previous version submitted by OT-AAUP. After a few initial questions, the OT-AAUP team agreed to discuss the article further in caucus.

Next, both parties TAed the Notices of Communication article.

The Oregon Tech team then argued that it would not counter the articles on Intellectual Property, Position Descriptions, or Appointments, Academic Classification, and Rank, because in their view those subjects are permissive, not mandatory. Despite a number of questions and arguments from OT-AAUP, the Oregon Tech team maintained that these articles are permissive subjects, and are ultimately rights reserved only for management. OT-AAUP pointed out that other Oregon universities have articles covering these matters in their CBAs; nonetheless, the Oregon Tech team maintained its initial argument.

 The next negotiation session will take place on May 11th from 10am until 2pm. If you wish to join, a Zoom link is available on the OT-AAUP website’s calendar page.

April 20th, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

The OT-AAUP team proposed three article during this session: Donated Leave Bank, Labor Management Committee, and No Strike / No Lockout.

The Oregon Tech team proposed one article: Notices and Communication.

The session began with discussion of the Notices and Communication article. The Oregon Tech team changed the time limit for a response from seven days down to three to make the process more efficient. OT-AAUP asked if this time limit only applies to large-scale union issues, as opposed to private communications to/from individual faculty. The Oregon Tech team affirmed this. OT-AAUP agreed to discuss in caucus.

The next discussion was of the Labor Management Committee article. The OT-AAUP team asked why the Oregon Tech team does not want to implement this article until the CBA is in place: this would stifle the ability to discuss issues around COVID-19 and remote teaching. Oregon Tech maintains that this committee cannot discuss a CBA that does not yet exist. After OT-AAUP pointed out that there is no faculty voice on the existing COVID-19 task force. Oregon Tech argued with this, stating that there are three faculty members on the task force. OT-AAUP countered that none of these faculty are members of the bargaining unit and are either chairs or deans.

Next up for discussion was the No Strike / No Lockout article. The Oregon Tech team asked for a few clarifications, then decided to discuss in caucus.

Donated Leave Bank was the next article discussed. OT-AAUP described that this article is intended to protect junior faculty who need extended leave but don’t have access to FMLA. The Oregon Tech team asked for a number of clarifications, then agreed to discuss the article in caucus.

The next negotiation session took place on April 27th, 2020.

April 13th, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

 The OT-AAUP team proposed four articles during this session: Non-Discrimination, Recognition, Appointments, and Notices.

The Oregon Tech team proposed four articles as well: Non-Discrimination, Labor Management Committee, Personnel File, and Management Rights.

Both teams presented their changes to the Non-Discrimination policy (each linked separately above), then agreed to discuss during caucus.

Next, the teams discussed the Labor Management Committee article. The OT-AAUP team wanted to see a requirement for a standing monthly meeting of the committee. The Oregon Tech team argued that this would be a waste of valuable time if there was no cause for a particular meeting. OT-AAUP agreed to discuss in caucus.

Recognition was discussed next. The main sticking point here was whether or not visiting faculty teaching at FTE .5 or above are included in the bargaining unit. OT-AAUP says yes, and the Oregon Tech team requests that more specific language be added to this effect.

Next up was Appointments. This article exists to define the different faculty classifications at the university going forward. The article was read, and the Oregon Tech team agreed to discuss it in caucus.

The discussion of the Notices article proceeded in much the same way.

The Labor Management Committee came up again after a caucus break. The Oregon Tech team requested that committee meeting requests include an agenda, and OT-AAUP answered that this is already written into the policy.

The Personnel File article was discussed next. OT-AAUP expressed a desire to know what documents are being placed in a faculty member’s file when they are placed there. The Oregon Tech team responded that the decision of what goes into the file and why shouldn’t include too many inputs. There were a few other clarifications provided by the Oregon Tech team, but no further discussion.

The next article discussed was Management Rights. Oregon Tech explained that this article describes what the employer can unilaterally change; in essence, whatever isn’t within the domain of the CBA. There was some discussion over the idea that the employer can unilaterally establish the university’s mission. Oregon Tech stated that the union should have no input on the university’s mission. OT-AAUP pointed out that the Board of Trustees also has input into the university’s mission, so this is not in fact unilateral.

The last article discussed during this session was the Labor Management Committee article (again). OT-AAUP removed specific language requiring the Provost or a designee being a required part of the committee (at the request of the Oregon Tech team).

The next negotiation session took place on April 20th, 2020.

April 6th, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

OT-AAUP proposed three articles during this session: Labor Management / Impact Bargaining, Personnel File, and Intellectual Property.

The Oregon Tech team proposed six articles during this session: Recognition, Discipline, Grievances, Outside Activities, Non-Discrimination, and a Tentative Agreement (TA) on Severability.

The OT-AAUP team began the session by expressing concerns about many aspects of the university’s requirement that synchronous remote class sessions be recorded. The team requested that a separate bargaining process be initiated around these issues. The Oregon Tech team requested a list of specific issues that would be bargained in these sessions before agreeing to anything. Oregon Tech would not readily agree to discussing these issues and addressing concerns in a timely manner.

Next, the teams discussed OT-AAUP’s counter to the Labor Management Committee article. Oregon Tech had no follow-up questions.

The teams then discussed OT-AAUP’s counter to the Personnel File article. The Oregon Tech team had some questions around complaints made under Title IX, but these were addressed with no further changes being made.

The next article up for discussion was Intellectual Property. The OT-AAUP team clarified that this article will supersede existing Oregon Tech policy, and that it would apply only to works created by faculty who create them as part of their job description.

After a caucus break, the Oregon Tech team presented the Recognition article. The team clarified that this article means to define chairs as being represented by a different unit than the one representing faculty. OT-AAUP argued that continuing work on this article without first TAing an article that defines the different types of appointments that are possible at Oregon Tech is counterproductive. There was further discussion about the importance of clearly defining titles and classifications.

Next up was the article on Discipline. OT-AAUP expressed concern that as written, this article allows for discharged based on “alleged” conduct. The Oregon Tech team did not disagree that this allows for “guilty until proven innocent” behavior, but argued that this isn’t likely to happen. The OT-AAUP team requested that the cases where this behavior would and wouldn’t be justified be better spelled out in the article. The Oregon Tech team disagreed that this was necessary. Then the team suggested that OT-AAUP counter with specifics on how such proceedings must be documented.

The Oregon Tech team introduced their counter on the Grievances article. The OT-AAUP team asked a number of clarifying questions here, including how a grievance would be levelled at a Dean or at a department chair. These concerns do not appear to have been addressed.

The Outside Activities article was discussed next. OT-AAUP asked about wording in the article that refers to faculty’s “7 day work week.” The Oregon Tech team suggested that OT-AAUP counter.

Non-Discrimination was the last article discussed during this session. The Oregon Tech team objected to including political activity in this article, but appears to have also removed references to harassment and retaliation as things faculty should be protected from. When questioned on this, the team offered to discuss further. OT-AAUP will counter.

At the end of the session, the impact bargaining around COVID-19 came up again; the Oregon Tech team seemed very resistant to engage in this bargaining.

The next negotiation session took place on April 13th, 2020.

March 13th, 2020 Negotiation Session

Notes contributed by Communications Committee member Dr. Ben Bunting, Humanities and Social Sciences

Note: The original notes from which this summary was written include a disclaimer that reads “the audio connection was very bad, and it was difficult to make out many details (including who was speaking).”

OT-AAUP proposed two articles during this session: Severability and Non-Tenure Track Promotion.

The session began with a discussion of the Labor Management Committee article. This discussion began with the OT-AAUP team seeking a clarification as to how committee members would be chosen. The Oregon Tech team explained that both the president and OT-AAUP would have the opportunity to choose members. The Oregon Tech team also clarified that committee meeting agendas will be set by both sides cooperatively before meetings.

The discussion of Severability was brief, with one additional change added (a 60 day time frame) based on input from the Oregon Tech team.

There was extensive discussion of the Non-Tenure Track (NTT) Promotion article. It began with the OT-AAUP team introducing the article as having been derived by the previous NTT policy developed by the RPT Senate committee and passed by Faculty Senate. It has been broadened and developed further since then.

There was no new discussion of Section 1 of the policy.

During consideration of Section 2 of the policy, the Oregon Tech team questioned the fairness of evaluating tenure-track faculty (TTF) and non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF) using, essentially, the same criteria. OT-AAUP responded that the guidelines differentiating the expectations for each track of faculty will be differentiated in the workload policy, not here.

There was no new discussion of Section 3 of the policy.

There was no new discussion of Section 4 of the policy.

Sections 5 and 6 were discussed next. The Oregon Tech team expressed concern that this policy removed the university’s ability to hire instructors on a temporary basis. OT-AAUP clarified that the policy allows for temporary hires, but requires that if that fixed-term hire is then extended that the individual is eligible for promotion. There was also a lot of discussion here regarding the differences between expectations for TTF and NTTF policies, and a clarification that the difference between Instructor I and Instructor II is to provide a rank for instructors who are hired in with a Bachelor’s degree but who might want to later move up the ranks by acquiring advanced licensing or a Master’s degree. OT-AAUP also explained that the move from Instructor I to Instructor II would entail “a different scope of work.” There was some discussion, also, about allowing a faculty member to move from NTTF to TTF without a national search. OT-AAUP argued that this is done often at other universities; the Oregon Tech team disagreed.

The Arbitration article was discussed next. The Oregon Tech team explained that the use of the word “withdraw” in Section 1 meant that once a claim is withdrawn (does not proceed to arbitration) it cannot be re-filed.

While discussing Section 2, the Oregon Tech team explained that they changed constraints on arbiters to limit travel costs, and that this does not affect the fairness of the process. The OT-AAUP team requested clarification on the use of a number of terms, and the Oregon Tech team provided it. There was no further discussion.

The next negotiation session took place on April 6th, 2020.